Monday, September 21, 2020

The word of God creates new families.

“Your mother and your brothers are standing outside and they wish to see you.”  Jesus said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” (Luke 8: 20 - 21).

Tuesday 22 September 2020, 25th Week in Ordinary Time.

What is the word of God?
#1. The word of God is the written word of God in the Sacred Scriptures.
#2. The word of God is decrees of God through the Sacred Tradition.
#3. The living word of God comes to us through the living and Sacred Magisterium, that is the teaching authority of the Church.

In the Scriptures, the word of God is also called the promise, will, command, precepts, ordinances law and decrees of God. Psalm 119, our Responsorial Psalm for today (the longest chapter in the Bible) is a beautiful hymn to the wonders of the word of God.

In the Gospel for today, Jesus teaches that those who hear the word of God and observe it belong to a new family. It is a new family where blood is thicker than water. Jesus gives power to those who listen to His voice and accepts His teaching the power to become the children of God.

Do we have an example of where the word of God forms a close and tight families? From the beginning of the Church, this divine teaching of Jesus has been vindicated in the early Christian communities of the Desert Fathers and Mothers. Today we have several religious communities, viz: Benedictines, Dominicans, Franciscans, the Poor Clares, etc. The members of these communities love and cherish one another and are closely knit as a family more than most families in the world.

Can the word of God form a tight human family of father, mother and children? Absolutely. Last Sunday of the year, the Church celebrates the feast of the Holy Family of Mary, Joseph and Jesus and points to this family as example for all families. This is a family created by the word of God and maintained by the word of God till the last.

"Be it done to me according Your word."

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Sunday, September 20, 2020

The Feast of St Matthew the Apostle and Evangelist.

 "Jesus... saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him." (Matthew 9: 9).

Monday 21st September 2020, 25th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Matthew the Apostle. Jewish. Evangelist. Author of the Gospel according to St Matthew. Died a martyr.

A man called Matthew was called by Jesus to follow Him. The man left everything: job, money, house and property and friends and followed the stranger called Jesus. Matthew was not a saint when Jesus called him. But Jesus did not come to call saints. He called Paul who describes his calling thus:

"I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.  Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus." (1 Timothy 1: 12 - 14).

Jesus delights in sinners because sinners give Him the opportunity to show off His mercy. Why did Jesus institute the Sacred Heart of Jesus Devotion? The Divine Mercy Devotion? Mercy may well be the last covenant with mankind.

For Prayer to Abba Father to check out your life Purpose: the Choice, the Call and the Anointing, click on the link below:

http://seekfirstcommunity.com/2020/09/abba-father.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com 

Abba Father

ABBA FATHER 

My Father in Heaven, how good it is to know that You are my Father and that I am Your child!

Especially when the skies of my soul are cloudy and my cross weighs more heavily, I feel the need to repeat to You: Father, I believe in Your love for me.

Yes, I believe that You are a Father to me at every moment of my life, and that I am Your child!

I believe that You love me with an infinite love!

I believe that You are watching over me night and day and that not a hair falls from my head without Your permission!

I believe that, in Your infinite Wisdom, You know better than I what is good for me.

I believe that, in Your infinite power, You can bring good even out of evil.

I believe that, in your infinite goodness, You make everything to the advantage of those who love You: even under the hands of those who strike me, I kiss Your hand which heals!

I believe, but increase in me faith, hope, and love!

Teach me always to see Your love as my guide in every event in my life.

Teach me to surrender myself to You like a baby in its mother’s arms.

Father, You know everything, You see everything, and You know me better than I know myself: You can do everything, and You love me! 

Give me the light, the grace, and the power of the Holy Spirit!

Strengthen me in this Spirit, that I may never lose Him, never sadden Him, and never allow Him to become weaker in me.

My Father, I ask this in the name of Jesus, Your Son! And you, Jesus, open Your Heart and place in it my own, and, together with Mary’s, offer it to our Divine Father! Obtain for me the grace that I need!

Divine Father, call all men to Yourself. Let all the world proclaim Your Fatherly Goodness and Your Divine Mercy!

Be a tender Father to me and protect me wherever I am, like the apple of Your eye. 

Make me always a worthy son/daughter, Have mercy on me!

Divine Father, sweet hope of our souls, may You be known, honored, and loved by all men!

Divine Father, infinite goodness poured out on all peoples, may You be known, honored, and loved by all men!

Divine Father, beneficent dew of humanity, may You be known, honored and loved by all men!

[Adapted from Mary’s Call]

SeekFirstcommunity.com 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Your thoughts are not our thoughts O God.



"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways—oracle of the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55: 8 - 9).

Sunday 20th September 2020, 25th Week in Ordinary Time.

Where can we see examples of God's ways and thoughts so different from humans? Two examples come to mind:

#1 Prayer:  God does not answer every prayer literally. Saints who are masters of Prayer like St Augustine have taught that God treats us like children who at times do not know what they want. God knows exactly what we need and when we need it. God acts according to His knowledge and providence.

#2 Divine Providence: God governs this world through His most loving and powerful Providence. We tend to think that God's Providence works only in big ticket items like birth and death and moments of big changes in life. God's Providence is operational every moment, in every thing and everywhere.  It is not from chance springs any of the comforts we enjoy in life but from God’s gracious ordaining.

Our Gospel of today from Matthew 20: 1 - 16 shows how God's thoughts and ways are so different from our thoughts and ways. We should take Jesus seriously when He says often that in the Kingdom of Heaven, be prepared to see the first last and the last first.
"Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first." (Matthew 20: 8).

God is just but not fair.
"I am the Good Shepherd, says the Lord; I know my sheep, and mine know me." (John 10: 14).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, September 18, 2020

The Feast of St Januarius.

 “A sower went out to sow his seed......As for the seed that fell among thorns, they are the ones who have heard, but as they go along, they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life, and they fail to produce mature fruit." (Luke 8: 5......14).

Saturday 19th September 2020, 24th Week in Ordinary Time is also the feast of St Januarius. (+ 305). Italian. Bishop and Martyr under Emperor Diocletian. His dried blood liquufies miraculously several times a year. Even science and agnostics are confounded by this. Jesus our Savior still presents believers more than sufficient proofs like the liquification of the the blood of Januarius to strengthen their faith.

Did you guess that the Sower in the Gospel for today (Luke 8: 4 - 15) is Jesus the Farmer? The seed is the word of God.
The seed that fell among thorns may be likened to those living today in western societies. Because of unbridled affluence and materialism, they have eaten and grown fat and bloated. They heard the Pearl of the Gospel: "Seek first the kingdom of God and holiness of life above every other thing and all your needs shall be met. Stop worrying about tomorrow which you cannot control. Trust firmly in my Divine All Powerful Providence." (Cf Matthew 6: 33 - 34). We heard the word and preferred to dwell on the pandemics hoping that its interruptions of our lives be very brief and its effects be very short term.

Our ever merciful Savior continues to sow the word every day through the Sacred Scriptures, teachings from Sacred Tradition and Magisterium. But you too, you are a sower of the word whether you are a teacher, nurse, housewife, politician, gabage collector, etc. Whatever you are or do, the Lord has entrusted you to partner with Him to transform the world today. How do you respond?

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Who are the women of Jesus?

"Accompanying him [Jesus] were the Twelve  and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,  Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources." (Luke 8: 1 - 3).

Friday 18th September 2020, 24th Week in Ordinary Time. Who are the women who accompanied Jesus during His ministry and why?

Some of us would remember a time when men sat in the right aisle and the women and the little children on the left in Church. It was so in the Synagogue in the days of Jesus. It must have been something of a novelty that some women traveled with Jesus as he journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.

Who are these women? They are a varied group: wealthy and not well to do, married and single, young and middle aged, respectable and not. They were all drawn to Jesus:
"They had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities." (Luke 8: 2). They liked the Good News of the Kingdom of God they hear Jesus proclaim and they responded with their hearts and their pockets. They provided for the needs of Jesus and His Apostles.

Jesus taught His disciples and us that those who labor for the Gospel deserve their upkeep. He promised: "Seek first the Kingdom of God and holiness of life above every other thing and all your needs shall be met." God used the Women of Jesus to fulfill this promise for the band of the Apostles and their Master.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Feast of St Robert Bellarmine of the Society of Jesus.

"By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective." (1 Corinthians 15: 10).

Thursday 17th September 2020, 24th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Robert Bellarmine of the Society of Jesus. (1542 - 1620). Italian. Bishop, Cardinal, Apologist and Patron Saint of Catechists.

Robert Bellarmine resided in Rome during most of his work life. The poor of Rome came to know him well and called him "the new poor one," reminiscent of St Francis of Assisi. Bellarmine shared his table regularly with the poor of the city of Rome.

Bellarmine was the nephew of Pope Marcellus II.  St Robert Bellarmine was a renowned scholar, a great apologist and contributed immensely to the Council of Trent and the reforms mandated by the Council.
In spite of all these encomiums, Bellarmine could say with Paul:
"By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective."

How about you? Can you say honestly: "By the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective." Can you defend the Catholic faith and all its practices? You may say: "I don't have the wisdom and the gifts of St Robert Bellarmine to do great things for the Church." Paul and Bellarmine recognized that without the grace of God, they could do nothing. The Holy Spirit is standing by waiting to be asked to be Your Helper, Friend, Advocate. He will help you clarify your purpose on earth and help you to accomplish it.
Jesus told us that the Father does not ration the Holy Spirit.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The Feast of St Cornelius and St Cyprian.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated,  it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,  it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." (1 Corinthians 13: 4 - 7).

Wednesday 16th September 2020, 24th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Cornelius. Pope. Martyred under Emperor Gallus in 253. We also honor today St Cyprian. Bishop and Martyr. Cyprian from Carthage (Tunisia) was martyred in 258 under Emperor Valerian.

The two saints we honor today were acquainted with one another. They lived under one of the most severe persecution of the Church. Tens of thousands were martyred by Rome determined to stamp out once and for all Christianity. Many Christians did not have the courage to face martyrdom. So they denied Jesus and the faith. Then the violent persecution abated. Those Christians who denied Jesus and the faith wanted to come back to the Church. The controversy nearly split the Church asunder. Pope Cornelius wanted the Christians who apostasized to confess their sins and do appropriate penance and be allowed to rejoin the Church. Many Bishops opposed him. St Cyprian from the powerful African Church came to his support. Their side won and schism was prevented. The Lord was impressed by their good work and awarded the two the crown of martyrdom.

Our key Scripture for today is from the famous theme of love. Since Love is the center and heart of the Christian faith, 1 Corinthians 13: 4 - 7 is one of the best Scripture for the examination of conscience before Confession. It covers almost every sin. For an extended List for a good examination of conscience, click the link below:

http://seekfirstcommunity.com/2020/09/a-good-examination-of-conscience.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

A Good Examination of Conscience

An Examination of Conscience is the best preparation for a good confession:

Make a list of the behaviors or attitudes you would like to change. Then commend them to God, asking for strength.  In Him you can do it!! 

The Ten Commandments:

1.    I am the Lord your God:  You shall have no strange gods before me.  Do I love anybody or anything more than God?? 

Do I give God time everyday for prayer?  Do I seek to love him with my whole heart?  Have I been involved with superstitious practices?  Have I been involved with the occult?  Do I seek to surrender myself to God’s Word as taught by the Church?  Have I ever received Communion in a state of mortal sin?  Have I deliberately told a lie in Confession or have I withheld a mortal sin from the priest in Confession?

2.    You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

Have I used God’s name in vain:  lightly or carelessly?  Have I been angry with God?  Have I wished evil upon another person?  Have I insulted a sacred person or abused a sacred object?

3.    Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.

Have I deliberately missed Mass on Sunday or holy days of obligation?  Have I tried to observe Sunday as a family day and a day of rest?  Do  I  do needless work on Sunday?

4.    Honor your father and your mother.

Do I honor and obey my parents?  Have I neglected my duties to my spouse and children?  Have I given my family good religious example?  Do I try to bring peace into my home life?  Do I care for my aged and infirm relatives?

Do I respect all lawfully constituted authority? 

5.    You shall not kill.

Have I had an abortion or encouraged anyone to have an abortion?  Have I physically harmed anyone?  Have I abused alcohol or drug?  Did I give scandal to anyone, thereby leading them into sin?  Have I been angry or resentful?  Have I harbored hatred in my heart?  Have I mutilated myself through any form of sterilization?  Have I encouraged or condoned sterilization?

6.    You shall not commit adultery.

Have I been faithful to my marriage vows in thought or action?  Have I engaged in any sexual activity outside of marriage?  Have I used any method of contraception or artificial birth control in marriage?  Has each sexual act in my marriage been open to the transmission of new life?  Have I been guilty of masturbation?  Have I sought to control my thoughts?  Have I respected all members of the opposite sex, or have I thought of other people as objects?  Have I been guilty of any homosexual activity?  Do I seek to be chaste in my thoughts, words and actions?  Am I careful to dress modestly?

7.    You shall not steal. 

Have I stolen what is not mine?  Have I returned or made restitution for what I have stolen?  Do I waste time at work, school or at home?  Do I gamble excessively, thereby denying my family of their needs?  Do I pay my debts promptly?  Do I seek to share what I have with the poor?

8.    You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Have I lied?  Have I gossiped?  Have I spoken behind someone else's back?  Am I sincere in my dealing  with what concerns others?  Am I critical, negative or uncharitable in my thoughts of others?  Do I keep secret what should be kept confidential?  Do I expose the faults of others? 

9.    You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.

Have I consented to impure thoughts?  Have I caused them by impure reading, movies, conversations or curiosity?  Do I seek to control my imagination?  Do I pray at once to banish impure thoughts and temptations?  [The Name of Jesus is my Armor of Protection. 021918]. 

10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods. 

Am I jealous of what other people have?  Do I envy the families or possessions of others?  Am I greedy or selfish?  Are material possessions the purpose of my life?  Do I trust that  God will care for all my material and spiritual needs?

++

In 1 Corinthians 13: 4 - 7, we see the attributes of love. 

This is how God loves us.

Is this how you love yourself? Your neighbor? 

"4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  

6. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

7. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (1 Corinthians 13: 4 - 7). 

++

The fruit of the Spirit is:

1. Charity

 2. Joy 

3. Peace 

4. Patience 

5. Kindness 

6. Goodness 

7. Generosity 

8. Gentleness 

9. Faithfulness 

10. Modesty 

11. Self-control 

12. Chastity  

+++++

Character of a Christian growing in grace and love:

✅ They speak the truth in love at all times 

✅ They are good listeners 

✅ They hardly take offense

✅ They are quick to forgive 

✅ They are reliable 

✅ They are supportive 

✅ They have appetite for prayer and fasting 

✅ They rely on the Word of God 

✅ The more God lifts them up, the more they become humble 

✅ They love people and they are compassionate 

✅ They respect people and are very sensitive to people's feelings 

✅ They have a lot of patience and they are not short tempered 

✅ They fear God 

✅ They give honour where it is due 

✅ They have good leadership skills 

✅ They are hospitable 

✅ They are not carried away by all kinds of teachings 

✅ They are good followers 

✅ They have a sacrificial spirit 

✅ They don't gossip and look down on people 

✅ They have faith 

✅ They take part in church activities and attend church regularly 

✅ They are clean in every aspect of life 

✅ Their spirits are sensitive, they hate sin 

✅ They don't act holier than Thou.

++

Eusebius, a 3rd century church father, offered the following prayer as instruction for his fellow Christians:

"May I be no man's enemy, and may I be the friend of that which is eternal and abides. May I never quarrel with those nearest me: and if I do, may I be reconciled quickly. May I love, seek, and attain only that which is good. May I wish for all men's happiness and envy none. May I never rejoice in the ill-fortune of one who has wronged me. When I have done or said what is wrong, may I never wait for the rebuke of others, but always rebuke myself until I make amends. May I win no victory that harms either me or my opponent. May I reconcile friends who are angry with one another. May I never fail a friend who is in danger. When visiting those in grief may I be able by gentle and healing words to soften their pain. May I respect myself. May I always keep tame that which rages within me. May I accustom myself to be gentle, and never be angry with people because of circumstances. May I never discuss who is wicked and what wicked things he has done, but know good men and follow in their footsteps."

Do you seek to live peaceably and charitably with all?

"Lord Jesus, my heart is cold. Make it warm, compassionate, and forgiving towards all, even those who do me harm. May I only think and say what is pleasing to you and be of kind service to all I meet."

"O God, author of every mercy and of all goodness, who in fasting, prayer and almsgiving

have shown us a remedy for sin,

look graciously on this confession of our lowliness, that we, who are bowed down by our conscience, may always be lifted up by your mercy.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever. Amen." (Collect - Sunday Mass). 

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, September 14, 2020

Feast of our Lady of Sorrows.

"Simeon said to Mary: Behold, this child is destined for the ruin and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign of contradiction; and your own soul a sword will pierce." (Luke 2: 34 35).

Tuesday 15th September 2020, 24th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

"At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping, Close to Jesus to the last." (Stabat Mater). Thus was the prophecy of Simeon at the Presentation of the Child Jesus fulfilled. "Your own soul a sword will pierce."

"Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.  When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home." (John 19: 25 - 27).

Here the Mother of Sorrows received her everlasting vocation:
“Behold, your mother.”  Mary may have murmured silently: "Be it done to me according to Your word." And she became our Mother from that instance.

What do you make of the Sorrows of Mary? Was it necessary? Superfluous? An overkill? The Church teaches: "Our Mother Mary teaches us to live, together with her, beside the cross of her Son. In her suffering, she reminds us of the malice of sin and shows us the way of true repentance." (Roman Missal). How do we summarize this? The Apostle Peter says it best in the Communion Antiphon:

"Rejoice when you share in the sufferings of Christ, that you may also rejoice exultantly when his glory is revealed." (1 Peter 4: 13).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, September 13, 2020

The Great Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.

"We should glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is our salvation, life and resurrection, through whom we are saved and delivered." (Galatians 6: 14).

Monday 14th September 2020, 24th Week in Ordinary Time is the great feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.

Why celebrate the feast of Exaltation of the Cross?

#1 The crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus transformed the Cross into a true sign of salvation.

#2  "Christ crucified is thus "the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." It is in Christ's Resurrection and exaltation that the Father has shown forth "the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe" (CCC 272)

The Cross has become a synonym for the trials of life. Jesus says: If you want to follow Me, pick up your own cross and follow Me. Hence we find plastic cross, gold cross, silver cross, wooden cross, etc. We find crosses in homes, cars, schools, hospitals, churches, cemeteries. We find crosses in every country in the world. The ubiquitous presence of the Cross everywhere is significant and providential. It signifies that grace and mercy are everywhere we accept trials and situations we can not avoid.

We are baptized with the sign of the Cross: In the Name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit. This reminds us of the Trinitarian character of our faith.

As the catechumens are reminded in the RCIA Rite of Acceptance,  embracing our cross is embracing the will of God. It is the most assured route to sanctity and the good life. The will of God is our shalom, our peace. Peace is the first and greatest gift of salvation.

Man has always rejected the Cross as we see in the first Reading:

"With their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!” (Numbers 21: 4 - 5).

Jesus came to undo the disobedience of Adam and Eve by embracing the prescribed means of salvation by the Father.
"When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself, says the Lord." (John 12: 32)

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your Cross you have redeemed the world.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Practical steps to help you forgive sins against you.

"Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan." (Matthew 18: 27).

Sunday 13th September 2020, 24th Week in Ordinary Time.

God self-revelation to Moses is:  I am a God of mercy and compassion.  Be holy as I am holy. If we receive mercy from God, we must show mercy to others. It is not okay to say that it difficult to forgive. Sirach in the first Reading today portrays a divine quid pro quo when it comes to forgiving our neighbor. "Forgive your neighbor the wrong done to you; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven." (Sirach 28: 2).

Notice the punch in Sirach: "A sinner like yourself."
"Can one refuse mercy to a sinner like oneself, yet seek pardon for one’s own sins?" (Sirach 28: 4).

Jesus says the same in today's Gospel.
"I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.  Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?" (Matthew 18: 32 - 33).

I have struggled with the question of forgiveness. Below is what has helped me:

#1 Forgive the offense immediately. Everywhere, always, for everything, for everyone without discrimination.
#2 Pray blessings on the offender morning and evening. Continue to pray for the offender until you are healed of the hurt.
#3 Ask God to grant the grace to everyone you have offended to forgive you and set you free. I have practiced #1 and #2 for years before it occurred to me that there are people out there that I have offended.
#4 If you do not read the word of God regularly, you will never understand anything about God's mercy and will find it difficult to forgive.

Our Responsorial Psalm 103 for today is on the mercy of God.

"The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger, and rich in compassion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
He pardons all your iniquities,
heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction, crowns you with kindness and compassion."

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Friday, September 11, 2020

Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary.

"My beloved, avoid idolatry." (1 Corinthians 10: 14).

Saturday 12th September 2020, 23rd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Almost back to back on the celebration of the Birthday of Mary is the feast of her Most Holy Name. The Church in her teaching authority interpretes for us the role of Mary in the economy of salvation. Here is what the Church teaches about the feast of today, Most Holy Name of Mary:

"God the Father is glorified by the exalted role in salvation of the Blessed Virgin Mary." Thus her name is a name of honor, to be venerated and called upon with filial trust and devotion." (Roman Missal). There is a lot to unpack here.

In our key Scripture, St Paul warns the Corinthians to avoid idolatry. The Corinthians mixed meat offered to Idols with other food stuff. You can call idolatry impurity: mixing what is pure with what is impure. This is against the first Commandment that places God first and always first in our heart, mind and soul. "You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and also the cup of demons.  You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and of the table of demons." (1 Corinthians 10: 21).

What can become idols for us today?
Family, health, job, money, food, possessions. If you worry too much about the future which is totally beyond your control, you make idol of it.

Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary especially through the Holy Rosary is a sure antidote to idolatry.

For the the 15 Promises of Mary to those who say the Holy Rosary, click the link below:

http://seekfirstcommunity.com/2020/08/the-15-promises-of-mary-to-those-who.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Can a blind person guide another blind person?

“Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?" (Luke 6: 39).

Friday 11th September 2020, 23rd Week in Ordinary Time.

Whom did Jesus call the blind in the Gospel?
"Let them [Pharisees] alone; they are blind guides (of the blind). If a blind person leads a blind person, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15: 14).

The dictionary defines pharasaical spirit as: "Adjective. Of or relating to the Pharisees.  Practicing or advocating strict observance of external forms and ceremonies of religion or conduct without regard to the spirit; self-righteous; hypocritical."

Do you know any such persons in your community? Do you know anyone who advocates the strictest law and order except when their children are involved.  Sometime ago, the daughter of a law and order judge in Texas was speeding drunk after midnight and had an accident. An undocumented immigrant who witnessed the accident went to help her until the police arrived at the scene. Her law and order father and judge argued in court that the immigrant who was at the scene to help his daughter should be disqualified as a witness and arrested as an illegal immigrant.

"I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." (Hosea 6: 6).
When a blind judge guides another blind judge, will not the two judges fall into the ditch? Jesus defines His mission thus:
"I was born and came into the world for this one purpose, to speak about the truth. Whoever belongs to the truth listens to me." (John 18: 37).

Do you seek the truth? Do you endeavor to learn more and more about the truth that is Jesus? Can you stand up to what is right and the truth like the undocumented immigrant in Texas? If you answer Yes to all the questions, then you are not far from salvation. Now commit yourself to evangelization, to leading people to the truth.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Be merciful as your Father is merciful.

"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." (Luke 6: 36).

Thursday 10th September 2020, 23rd Week in Ordinary Time.

Our word for the day is from the Gospel of Luke 6: 27 - 38. How can we be merciful as the Father is merciful? What is mercy? The dictionary defines mercy as: "compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm." In other words, mercy is a gratuitous forgiveness of an offense where the offender is rightly waiting the hammer to strike.

In my opinion, the greatest example of mercy is in the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. This servant owes his master millions of dollars which he could never repay. His master would sell his entire family and all his possessions, put him into slave work for the rest of his life to recover a tiny portion of his debt. Then the miracle happened. He was forgiven everything. The servant did not forgive his fellow servant who owed him a tiny amount.

"You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.  Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’" (Matthew 18: 32 - 33).

"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." (Luke 6: 36). Jesus teaches us that the merciful Heart of God is unfathomable. Like a bottomless ocean. Anyone could see this in the Old Testament. Covenant after Covenant that was shredded by His ungrateful People. Yet when they suffer the consequences of their sins, one cry to God and He is at their side, forgiving them and ready to start all over again.

Divine Mercy Devotion is Jesus' gift to the Church. He desires that no man should be ignorant of the infinite mercy of God. The heart of the Devotion is as simple as ABC and is summarized by the ABC of Mercy:

A: Ask for Mercy.
B: Be Merciful.
C: Completely trust Jesus for Mercy.

This is how we can be merciful as our Father is merciful.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Feast of St Peter Claver of the Society of Jesus.

"Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied...
...But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation."  (Luke 6: 21, 24).

Wednesday 9th September 2020, 23rd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Peter Claver of the Society of Jesus. (1580 - 1654). Spanish. Priest, Religious and Missionary. St Peter Claver served for over 40 years African slaves dumped at the South American seaport of Cartagena now Colombia. During 40 years, he fed the slaves, cared for the sick and dying. He preached the Good News to them and baptized over 300,000.

Peter Claver and the slaves he served watched the powerful slave dealers and the Spanish bureaucratic officials eat, drink and dance while they were hungry.  Jesus has some harsh words for them in today's Gospel:
"But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
But woe to you who are filled now, for you will be hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now, for you will grieve and weep." (Luke 6: 24 - 25).

Jesus teaches in the Beatitudes and in the Parable of the Rich man and Lazarus that the selfish rich have received their compensation here on earth. They "gained the whole world" for perhaps 50, 70, 90 or 100 years at most and lost eternity.

St Peter Claver, SJ is called the "Slave of slaves." God gave him great love and patience for the suffering slaves. Peter took many of them with him to heaven. Today we have the opportunity to be different from the the slave dealers and Spanish officials by loving our neighbors in deed and in truth.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, September 07, 2020

Happy Birthday Mother Mary. We your children love you.

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us.” (Matthew 1: 23).

Tuesday 8th September 2020, 23rd Week in Ordinary Time is the great feast of the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her birth marks the moment when she who was to conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit and give birth to our Savior Jesus Christ was born.

Who is Mary?
Why is her cult so passionate and universal?

Mary we have seen is the Mother of Emmanuel, God-with-us, Jesus "who will save his people from their sins."
The Blessed Virgin Mary was held in reverence by the Apostles and disciples in the earliest Christian community. That may be why so little was said about her in the Gospels.
The Mother of Emmanuel was the only person who knew Jesus from womb to tomb. She was always there in the most important moments in the life of Jesus:
* Annunciation.
* Birth in the Manger.
* Visit of the Magi.
* Presentation in the Temple and the encounter with the Prophet and Prophetess Simeon and Anna.
* The Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross).
* The Sacrifice of the Lamb of God at Calvary when it pleased the Father to make the Mother of His Son, our Mother through John the Evangelist.
* The Birth of the Church on Pentecost Sunday.

Mary was faithfully there in all the great moments! Accident or Providence? Mary's role in salvation history was planned by the Most Holy Trinity before the beginning of the world.

It is with great joy that we honor Mary on her Birthday. Happy Birthday Mother. We your children love you very much. We join all the generations that have called you blessed to hail you:
Holy Mary full of grace, the fruit of your womb, Jesus is blessed forever!

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

Sunday, September 06, 2020

What is lawful to do on Sunday?

"Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” (Luke 6: 9).

Monday 7th September 2020, 23rd Week in Ordinary Time.

You, what do you consider lawful to do on the Sabbath [Sunday]? The scribes and the Pharisees were probably seated when Jesus walked into the Synagogue with His disciples on this Sabbath. A man whose right hand was withered was sitting where everyone could see him. The scribes and Pharisees became tense as they watched Jesus glance at the man with the withered hand. "Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” The scribes and Pharisees knew the answer to the question but decided to keep quiet.
For Jesus, mercy triumphs always over law and order. His providence is wholly at the disposal of His merciful love.

The Sabbath Rest is a key aspect of Judaism. The Sabbath day is sacred. The Sabbath Rest is one of the Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai. Christianity being the daughter of Judaism adopted the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). The Sacred Magisterium of the Church (Teaching Authority) made Sunday the Day of Rest instead of the Sabbath (Saturday) because of the Resurrection of Jesus on Sunday.

Make no mistake about it, the requirement for the Sabbath Rest has not changed under Christianity. "Keep Holy the Lord's Day" is one of the most positive and beneficial commandments of the Decalogue. Let us list a few reasons:

#1 Sunday becomes a Day of Rest for the entire family.
#2 Sunday is the Day of mandatory worship of God in the Holy Eucharist.
#3 Sunday is a Day of exercise of faith in God who ordered the rest and promised to provide fully for the day.
#4 Sunday rest is rehearsal for eternal life. When this life ends, there will be no more work. It will be an eternity of enjoyment of the most beautiful liturgies and music and other things which eyes have not seen, nor eyes heard, nor has it ever entered the mind of man what God has prepared for those who love and obey Him.

Jesus observed the Sabbath scrupulously and desires His followers to do the same.
For the Teaching of the Church on Keep Holy the Lord's Day, click on the link below:
http://Seekfirstcommunity.com/2020/09/keep-holy-lords-day.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Keep Holy the Lord's Day.


KEEP HOLY THE LORD'S DAY. 

(Catechism of the Catholic Church) 

2168 The third commandment of the Decalogue recalls the holiness of the sabbath: "The seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD."92

2169 In speaking of the sabbath Scripture recalls creation: "For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it."93

2170 Scripture also reveals in the Lord's day a memorial of Israel's liberation from bondage in Egypt: "You shall remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out thence with mighty hand and outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day."94

2171 God entrusted the sabbath to Israel to keep as a sign of the irrevocable covenant.95 The sabbath is for the Lord, holy and set apart for the praise of God, his work of creation, and his saving actions on behalf of Israel.

2172 God's action is the model for human action. If God "rested and was refreshed" on the seventh day, man too ought to "rest" and should let others, especially the poor, "be refreshed."96 The sabbath brings everyday work to a halt and provides a respite. It is a day of protest against the servitude of work and the worship of money.97

2173 The Gospel reports many incidents when Jesus was accused of violating the sabbath law. But Jesus never fails to respect the holiness of this day.98 He gives this law its authentic and authoritative interpretation: "The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath."99 With compassion, Christ declares the sabbath for doing good rather than harm, for saving life rather than killing.100 The sabbath is the day of the Lord of mercies and a day to honor God.101 "The Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath."102

II. THE LORD'S DAY

This is the day which the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.103

The day of the Resurrection: the new creation

2174 Jesus ros from the dead "on the first day of the week."104 Because it is the "first day," the day of Christ's Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the "eighth day" following the sabbath,105 it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ's Resurrection. For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord's Day (he kuriake hemera, dies dominica) Sunday:

We all gather on the day of the sun, for it is the first day [after the Jewish sabbath, but also the first day] when God, separating matter from darkness, made the world; and on this same day Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead.106

Sunday - fulfillment of the sabbath

2175 Sunday i exprssly distinguished from the sabbath which it follows chronologically every week; for Christians its ceremonial observance replaces that of the sabbath. In Christ's Passover, Sunday fulfills the spiritual truth of the Jewish sabbath and announces man's eternal rest in God. For worship under the Law prepared for the mystery of Christ, and what was done there prefigured some aspects of Christ:107

Those who lived according to the old order of things have come to a new hope, no longer keeping the sabbath, but the Lord's Day, in which our life is blessed by him and by his death.108

2176 The celebration of Sunday observes the moral commandment inscribed by nature in the human heart to render to God an outward, visible, public, and regular worship "as a sign of his universal beneficence to all."109 Sunday worship fulfills the moral command of the Old Covenant, taking up its rhythm and spirit in the weekly celebration of the Creator and Redeemer of his people.

The Sunday Eucharist

2177 The Sunday celebration of the Lord's Day and his Eucharist is at the heart of the Church's life. "Sunday is the day on which the paschal mystery is celebrated in light of the apostolic tradition and is to be observed as the foremost holy day of obligation in the universal Church."110

"Also to be observed are the day of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Epiphany, the Ascension of Christ, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christi, the feast of Mary the Mother of God, her Immaculate Conception, her Assumption, the feast of Saint Joseph, the feast of the Apostles Saints Peter and Paul, and the feast of All Saints."111

2178 This practice of the Christian assembly dates from the beginnings of the apostolic age.112 The Letter to the Hebrews reminds the faithful "not to neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some, but to encourage one another."113

Tradition preserves the memory of an ever-timely exhortation: Come to Church early, approach the Lord, and confess your sins, repent in prayer. . . . Be present at the sacred and divine liturgy, conclude its prayer and do not leave before the dismissal. . . . We have often said: "This day is given to you for prayer and rest. This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."114

2179 "A parish is a definite community of the Christian faithful established on a stable basis within a particular church; the pastoral care of the parish is entrusted to a pastor as its own shepherd under the authority of the diocesan bishop."115 It is the place where all the faithful can be gathered together for the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist. The parish initiates the Christian people into the ordinary expression of the liturgical life: it gathers them together in this celebration; it teaches Christ's saving doctrine; it practices the charity of the Lord in good works and brotherly love:

You cannot pray at home as at church, where there is a great multitude, where exclamations are cried out to God as from one great heart, and where there is something more: the union of minds, the accord of souls, the bond of charity, the prayers of the priests.116

The Sunday obligation

2180 The precept of the Church specifies the law of the Lord more precisely: "On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass."117 "The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day."118

2181 The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor.119 Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.

2182 Participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and to his Church. The faithful give witness by this to their communion in faith and charity. Together they testify to God's holiness and their hope of salvation. They strengthen one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

2183 "If because of lack of a sacred minister or for other grave cause participation in the celebration of the Eucharist is impossible, it is specially recommended that the faithful take part in the Liturgy of the Word if it is celebrated in the parish church or in another sacred place according to the prescriptions of the diocesan bishop, or engage in prayer for an appropriate amount of time personally or in a family or, as occasion offers, in groups of families."120

A day of grace and rest from work

2184 Just as God "rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done,"121 human life has a rhythm of work and rest. The institution of the Lord's Day helps everyone enjoy adequate rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives.122

2185 On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God, the joy proper to the Lord's Day, the performance of the works of mercy, and the appropriate relaxation of mind and body.123 Family needs or important social service can legitimately excuse from the obligation of Sunday rest. The faithful should see to it that legitimate excuses do not lead to habits prejudicial to religion, family life, and health.

The charity of truth seeks holy leisure- the necessity of charity accepts just work.124

2186 Those Christians who have leisure should be mindful of their brethren who have the same needs and the same rights, yet cannot rest from work because of poverty and misery. Sunday is traditionally consecrated by Christian piety to good works and humble service of the sick, the infirm, and the elderly. Christians will also sanctify Sunday by devoting time and care to their families and relatives, often difficult to do on other days of the week. Sunday is a time for reflection, silence, cultivation of the mind, and meditation which furthers the growth of the Christian interior life.

2187 Sanctifying Sundays and holy days requires a common effort. Every Christian should avoid making unnecessary demands on others that would hinder them from observing the Lord's Day. Traditional activities (sport, restaurants, etc.), and social necessities (public services, etc.), require some people to work on Sundays, but everyone should still take care to set aside sufficient time for leisure. With temperance and charity the faithful will see to it that they avoid the excesses and violence sometimes associated with popular leisure activities. In spite of economic constraints, public authorities should ensure citizens a time intended for rest and divine worship. Employers have a similar obligation toward their employees.

2188 In respecting religious liberty and the common good of all, Christians should seek recognition of Sundays and the Church's holy days as legal holidays. They have to give everyone a public example of prayer, respect, and joy and defend their traditions as a precious contribution to the spiritual life of society. If a country's legislation or other reasons require work on Sunday, the day should nevertheless be lived as the day of our deliverance which lets us share in this "festal gathering," this "assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven."125

(CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH) 

Saturday, September 05, 2020

A message of reconciliation we can appreciate.

"God in Christ was reconciling the world to himself, and he has entrusted to us the news that they are reconciled." (2 Corinthians 5: 19).

Sunday 6th September 2020, 23rd Week in Ordinary Time.

One word to sum the theme of the Scripture messages this Sunday may be Reconciliation. Between God and man - first Reading. Between man and man - second Reading and the Gospel.

God desires reconciliation with the sinner. He can do it by Himself but He wants our partnership. This is why the Father sent His Son to become man and reconcile humanity to God.

If man is able to love his neighbor as himself, there will be no need for a ministry of Reconciliation.  "Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law." (Romans 13: 10).

Our love for God is in direct proportion of our awareness of God's love for us. Our love for our neighbor is in direct proportion to our awareness that our neighbor is like ourselves created in the image and likeness of God therefore we all are children of God. It is the responsibility of parents to inculcate this lesson in their children even before the age of reason.

The Church exercises its ministry of Reconciliation through catechesis, evangelization and the sacraments. We do this best when two or more people are gathered in the name of Jesus and reconcile members and pray for healing in the community. Jesus promises to be always present.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, September 04, 2020

Feast of Mother St Teresa of Kolkata.

"What do you possess that you have not received? But if you have received it, why are you boasting as if you did not receive it?" (1 Corinthians 4: 7).

Saturday 5th September 2020, 22nd Week in Ordinary Time.  Most Masses today may honor the Blessed Virgin Mary as today is the First Saturday in September.  Today is also the feast of St Teresa of Kolkata (1910 - 1997). Founder of the Missionaries of Charity. She won the Nobel Prize.

How did I find myself in the beautiful Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on September 4th 2016 for the Mass of the Canonization of St Teresa of Kolkata happening in Rome that very day? Coincidence or Providence?  St Teresa of Kolkata became my patron saint from that day. She is the Saint of Mercy.

Our key Scripture for today is a challenging one: "What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if all you have is from God, why act as though you are so great, and as though you have accomplished something on your own?"
Everything is a gift from God: Country, race, education, wealth, health, job, family, etc. Do we forget this sometimes? Have you not heard people claim:  'We built this and that?' Consider this comforting truth from the Liturgy of the Hours:

"T'is not from chance our comfort springs but from Your gracious ordaining O Father of mercies." (Cf 2 Corinthians 1: 3 - 4).

We honor on this First Saturday of September two great Mothers:

The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Hope and Mercy and Mother St Teresa of Kolkata, Mother of the Poorest of the Poor and Saint of Mercy. We ask our Mothers to pray for us who are in most need of mercy.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Comparing Jesus with the Baptist and the Pharisees.

"The scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, “The disciples of John fast often and offer prayers, and the disciples of the Pharisees do the same; but yours eat and drink.” (Luke 5: 33).

Friday 4th September 2020, 22nd Week in Ordinary Time. Also First Friday in September.

Everything Jesus said and did during His public ministry was done openly and in the day time. Why? He wants people to hear and see for themselves and judge who He is. A tree must be judged by the fruit. Jesus clearly is greater than John the Baptist whose mission was to prepare His way. As for comparing Jesus with the Pharisees, judge for yourselves if there is any basis for this.

How do we judge? People, races, countries, churches, individuals, etc? First, the Scripture teaches us not to judge at all. Leave all judgment to God who is most qualified to judge. Human beings see only the outward appearances, God sees the heart and inner reality of everything.

As for the concern of the scribes and the Pharisees with regard to fasting and prayers, Jesus has a short answer for His challengers:
"New wine must be poured into fresh wineskins." (Luke 5: 38). Meaning: Open your eyes and see. I am doing New Things!

"I am the light of the world, says the Lord; anyone who follows me will have the light of life." (John 8: 12)

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the First Friday of September.

September 4, 2020 - First Friday in September.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which Jesus made through St Margaret Mary Alacoque to all who honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month. In the 9th month of the year 2020, we look at Promise #9.

#9.  "I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored."

This is a very easy condition to fulfill. Just buy the Sacred Heart of Jesus picture from a Catholic Bookstore or Amazon and place it in a prominent place in your home. Now you can pray to Jesus: Bless my home as You promised. I honor Your Sacred Heart image displayed in my home.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

http://seekfirstcommunity.com/2020/08/12-promises-of-sacred-heart-of-jesus.html?m=1

Seekfirstcommunity.com

First Friday in September 2020.

September 4, 2020 - First Friday in September.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which Jesus made through St Margaret Mary Alacoque to all who honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month. In the 9th month of the year 2020, we look at Promise #9.

#9.  "I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored."

This is a very easy condition to fulfill. Just buy the Sacred Heart of Jesus picture from a Catholic Bookstore or Amazon and place it in a prominent place in your home. Now you can pray to Jesus: Bless my home as You promised. I honor Your Sacred Heart image displayed in my home.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

http://seekfirstcommunity.com/2020/08/12-promises-of-sacred-heart-of-jesus.html?m=1

Seekfirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

He left everything and followed Jesus.

"Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” (Luke 5: 5).

Thursday 3rd September 2020, 22nd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the Servant of the Servants of God, St Gregory the Great. (540 - 604). Pope and Doctor of the Church.  When God found David, He exclaimed with delight: "I have chosen David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him. My hand will be with him; my arm will make him strong." (Psalm 89: 21 - 22). This Scripture can be applied to Pope Gregory the Great.

In our Gospel of today, Jesus calls Peter, James and John from professional fishing to fishers of men. Scripture says:  "They left everything and followed him." (Luke 5: 11). Gregory the Great was called from the City Hall where he was the Mayor of Rome to be fisher of men. He too left everything and followed Jesus.

Our key Scripture for today is very personal to me. I remember when I was a salesman knocking on doors. Sometimes, I would work an entire week without making a single sale. To add to the pain, I was on 100% commission. I would moan to Jesus:
“Lord, I have worked hard all week and caught nothing." Note the next words of Peter: "But at your command I will lower the nets.”

Here is the lesson:
#1 Our faith implies our obedience.
#2 The just man shall live by faith.
#3 Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

The Lord Jesus called Gregory from civic life to be an apostle. He called Peter, James and John from professional fishermen to be apostles. Is Jesus calling you to serve Him as an apostle, evangelist, catechist, missionary?

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com 

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

I was born for this One Purpose.

"[Jesus] said to them, “To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” (Luke 4: 43).

Wednesday 2nd September 2020, 22nd Week in Ordinary Time.

In our key Scripture for today, Jesus says that He must proclaim the Good News of the kingdom of God EVERYWHERE because He was born for this very purpose. When Pilate asked Jesus if He was a King, the King of the Universe replied: "For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."  (John 18: 37).

Jesus came into the world for one grand Purpose: To inaugurate the Kingdom of God. He does this through teaching and preaching; through healing and feeding the hungry. Most importantly, He ushers in the Kingdom through His passion and death on the Cross.

Jesus created a permanent Apostolic College to ensure the historical growth of the Church till His Return. The seed of the kingdom exists in the Church. (Cf CCC 671). Why does all this matter to you? It matters a great deal because Jesus says to you:  "Strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6: 33). Put simply, this means: If you want to be a stockholder in the Kingdom Enterprise, you must make this Enterprise your priority in everything. When you join the Enterprise, you sign the code of conduct which you are expected to adhere to. This is the code of holiness. Three things are tied together in the great promise of Matthew 6: 33:
#1 Make the kingdom top priority.
#2 Be holy or righteous.
#3 Believe firmly that God will provide all your needs.

These three stand together. What God has joined together, let no man tear asunder.

What are the rewards and privileges of living Matthew 6: 33? Jesus promises ALL YOUR NEEDS will be met. Besides, you will receive the greatest gift: the Awesome Holy Spirit. He comes to you with Seven Gifts: Wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord. With all these, you are ready to say with Jesus:

"The Lord has sent me to bring the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives." (Luke 4: 17).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, August 31, 2020

The People were amazed at the teaching of Jesus.

"He taught them on the sabbath,  and they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority." (Luke 4: 31 - 32).

Tuesday 1st September 2020, 22nd Week in Ordinary Time.

The common folk in the Synagogue in Capernaum were amazed at the teaching of Jesus. They recognized its quality and authority. We know that Jesus exercised His ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit. What exactly did the worshippers in the Synagogue observe about the teaching of Jesus?
#1 Simplicity.
#2 Clarity.
#3 Truth.

Even the enemies of Jesus conceded that He spoke the truth because He fears no man. A great obstacle to communicating the Gospel today is that there is existential threat to the truth. There is so much falsehood, fake teaching and news. Jesus guarantees the truth to the only Church He founded. The Holy Spirit will teach the Church every truth that Jesus has communicated during His public ministry. How does this work in practice?

#1 The Sacred Magisterium: The Pope is the Pastor-in-Chief and the Supreme Teacher in the Church.
#2 Sensus Fidelium: The Holy Spirit works through the People of God (the men and women in the pew) to guarantee faithful and trustworthy doctrine. If the Bishops err in the formulation of doctrine, they are corrected by the infallible "INSTINCT OF FAITH" (Sensus Fidelium) planted in their hearts by the Holy Spirit.

Why do people with the spirit of the world not accept the truth? The answer is in today's first Reading.

"Now the natural person does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God, for to him it is foolishness, and he cannot understand it, because it is judged spiritually." (1 Corinthians 2: 14).

How do you avoid the trap of falsehood prevalent in the current environment?

#1 Make the Holy Spirit your partner.
#2 Read the word of God with the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
#3 Those who say the Holy Rosary regularly are promised protection from heresies. (#4 of the 15 Promises of Mary to those who say the Holy Rosary) Checkout below:
http://seekfirstcommunity.com/2020/08/the-15-promises-of-mary-to-those-who.html?m=1

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com

12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Sacred Heart 12 Promises

The Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary

1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.   

2. I will give peace in their families.

3. I will console them in all their troubles.

4. They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.

5. I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.

6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.

7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.

8. Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.

9. I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored.

10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.

11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in My Heart, and it shall never be effaced.

12. The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.

+ Imprimatur: E. Morrogh Bernard, Vic. Gen.,  Westmonasterii, 1954

“Jesus knew and loved us each and all during his life, his agony and his Passion, and gave himself up for each one of us.  ‘The Son of God ….loved me and gave himself for me.’  He has loved us all with a human heart.  For this reason, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation, ‘is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that….love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings’ without exception.”  (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #478)
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
"Seek first the kingdom of God and 
his righteousness, all these things

will be given you  besides." 
(Matthew 6:33) 
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Seekfirstcommunity.com

The 15 Promises of Mary to those who say the Holy Rosary.

The Fifteen Promises of Mary to Christians Who Recite the Rosary

1. Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary shall receive signal graces.
2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary.
3. The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against Hell; it will destroy vice, decrease sin and defeat heresies.
4. It will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities and will lift them to the desire of eternal things.  Oh, that soul would sanctify themselves by this means!
5. The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary shall not perish.
6. Whoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred Mysteries, shall never be conquered by misfortune.  God will not chastise him in His justice; he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just, he shall remain in the grace of God and become worthy of eternal life.
7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the Sacraments of the Church.
8. Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenitude of His graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the saints in Paradise.
9. I shall deliver from Purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
10. The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in Heaven.
11. You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the Rosary.
12. All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.
13. I have obtained from my Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death.
14. All who recite the Rosary are my sons, and brothers of my only Son, Jesus Christ.
15. Devotion to my Rosary is a great sign of predestination.
🙏🙏🙏🌹🌹🌹🙏🙏🙏🌹🌹🌹

SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, August 30, 2020

TODAY This Scripture is FULFILLED.

"Jesus said to them, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4: 21).

Monday 31st August 2020, 22nd Week in Ordinary Time. We start the reading of the Gospel of Luke for weekday Masses all the way to Advent.

Two words capture my interest in the key Scripture for today: TODAY, FULFILLED. On the Sabbath in the Synagogue in Nazareth, it was Jesus turn to read the Scriptures. He carefully selected a passage from Isaiah about the job description of the expected Messiah and read it. Then He rolled up the scroll and sat down. Then Jesus said:  “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” Let us consider our keywords TODAY and FULFILLED.

#1 TODAY: Just as every human being has his birthday, so does a prophecy has its fulfillment Day. That Day is called in Scripture the Fullness of time. "There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens." (Ecclesiastes 3: 1).

At the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, the Prophet and Prophetess Simeon and Anna mysteriously appeared in the Temple on the Day of the Presentation.

What promises are you waiting their fulfillment? Write down the promise in bold letters and put it on the wall in your bedroom where you can see it every day. Don't forget to put the date on it. "For the vision [promise] is a witness for the appointed time, a testimony to the end; it will not disappoint. If it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late." (Cf Habakkuk 2: 2 - 3).

God is faithful to every single promise He makes. But every promise has its Day of Fulfillment. In the fullness of time, God makes everything beautiful. (Cf Ecclesiastes 3: 11).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Get away from Me Satan!

"From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised." (Matthew 16: 21).

Sunday 30th August 2020, 22nd Week in Ordinary Time.

Jesus first prediction of His passion, death and resurrection marks a turning point in His ministry. The disciples did not understand His prediction. Perhaps they did not even want to hear Him speak of bad news at all, certainly not suffering and death.
“God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” Peter remonstrated with Jesus.

What is your opinion about the Crucifixion? Suffering in your life? Suffering in the world?
The Cross is God's will and path for our salvation. No Cross, No Crown. “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Luke 24: 25 - 26).

So we are foolish to imagine that there could be salvation without suffering. Suffering is a divine necessity. Look around you and see the truth in nature. A seed must die in the ground before it sprouts to bring new life. A woman at childbirth wonders whether her end has come. But soon, she is smiling with the child in her arms.

One of the most powerful truths I learned from the Gospels is this: "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8: 32).
The reverse of this is equally astonishing. You are imprisoned by the falsehood you believe. The Devil is the Father of lies. He sows falsehood and lies everywhere. That is why Jesus rebuked Peter sharply on this occasion.
“Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” (Matthew 16: 23).

How do we protect ourselves from the deadly lies of the Devil? The answer is in the 2nd Reading today:
"Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect." (Romans 12: 2).

#1 Read and meditate on the word of God every day.
#2 Pray every day.

"Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later." (Romans 8: 18).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, August 28, 2020

The Feast of the Martyrdom of St John the Baptist.

“I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” (Mark 6: 25).

Saturday 29th August 2020, 21st Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the Martyrdom of St John the Baptist.

Who is John the Baptist? John is the son of Zachary and Elizabeth. When Mary visited Elizabeth, John  leapt in her mother's womb in recognition of Jesus. When he came of age, he retired to the desert to prepare for his exacting ministry. In the fullness of time, he came to the River Jordan and began preaching and baptizing people for repentance in preparation for the ministry of Jesus Christ. It was here that he condemned the adulterous life of King Herod. Herodias, the concubine of Herod took revenge on the Baptist and demanded his death when a good opportunity presented itself.

John's martyrdom is a cause of joy and hope for Christians. John died about the age of 32. Was his life in vain? Of course not. You think of the hundreds of martyrs that the Church honors every year. We honor them to remind everyone that Heaven is real for the faithful followers of Jesus Christ. Hell is also real for those who reject Jesus completely.

If someone asks you: How do you know that Heaven is real? Your answer could be among others: Look at the martyrs. Intelligent and beautiful men and women! Could they have thrown away the only life they had for nothing? Think of all the Apostles, Saints Cecilia, Agatha, Thomas More, Lawrence, etc.

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10: 28)

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Feast of a Celebrity - St Augustine.

 "Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour." (Matthew 25: 13).

Friday 28th August 2020, 21st Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Augustine. (354 - 430).African. Bishop, Father and Doctor of the Church. Son of St Monica who procured his conversion through copious tears. Once God the Father willed that St Augustine "will serve us," St Augustine was baptized by St Ambrose of Milan, great Bishop and Doctor of the Church. St Augustine is a prolific writer and without doubt one of the greatest doctors of the Church. His greatest works are: THE CONFESSIONS and THE CITY OF GOD.

How do we tie our key Scripture of today to the life of this great man?
At the very end of the Parable of Ten Virgins, Jesus said: "Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour." (Matthew 25: 13). In short, this may well be the summary of the teachings of Jesus. "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?" The 5 foolish virgins made sure their dresses, hair, finger nails, etc were perfect. But they neglected the most important thing. To anticipate the delay of the Bridegroom and prepare for the delay accordingly. The wise virgins did not neglect their appearances but asked the question: "What if there is a delay?" This question made the difference.

My friend, are you wise or foolish? How prepared are you for the inevitable? Let us be clear of one thing: There is a likelihood of delays in the promises of God. Check this out in the Scriptures. Early Christians complained to the Apostles that the Second Coming of Christ was delayed.

Test your Preparedness for delays:
How willing are you prepared to embrace God’s gracious and mysterious will for you in these areas:
#1 Health versus Sickness.
#2 Poverty versus Wealth.
#3 Children versus Childlessness.
#4 Job versus No Job.

"Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour."

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirstcommunity.com